Do you have clusters of visible pores on oilier areas of your face, such as your nose or chin? If they present a gray or dark color, you might have thought they were blackheads in the past. If they are white or yellow in color, maybe you just thought they were whitehead pimples. You will probably be surprised to discover that the spots you thought were blackheads or whiteheads may not actually be pimples at all, but rather a type of spot called the sebaceous filament! Sebaceous filaments are things that are always present on the skin and do not need to be eliminated (in fact, they can never be entirely eliminated). However, in some people (especially those with oily skin and overactive sebaceous glands) sebaceous filaments can be very noticeable and distressing. Luckily, there are numerous different ways to refine the skin and lessen the size of your sebaceous filaments.
- 1 How to Distinguish Between Pimples (Acne) and Sebaceous Filaments
- 2 Causes of Sebaceous Filaments
- 3 Home Remedies for Sebaceous Filaments
- 3.1 Remember not to squeeze them!
- 3.2 Baking soda
- 3.3 Benzoyl peroxide
- 3.4 Salicylic acid
- 3.5 Use a facial toner
- 3.6 Mineral oil
- 3.7 Reduce your intake of fatty foods
- 3.8 Pore strips
- 3.9 Clay mask
- 3.10 Charcoal mask
- 3.11 Over-the-counter skin treatments for excess oil and enlarged pores
- 3.12 Avoid using skincare and makeup products that contain comedogenic ingredients
- 3.13 Use skincare products that feature antioxidants
- 3.14 Herbal compress
- 3.15 Use non-comedogenic oils
- 3.16 Enzyme peel
- 3.17 Stay hydrated
- 3.18 Ensure you don’t over-exfoliate or over-wash your skin
- 3.19 Professional facials
- 3.20 Laser therapy
- 3.21 Prescription medicine
- 3.22 Accutane treatments
- 3.23 Professional extraction or removal
- 3.24 Chemical peel
How to Distinguish Between Pimples (Acne) and Sebaceous Filaments
How do you distinguish between a pimple and a sebaceous filament? Below is a list of some differences between the two.
- Sebaceous filaments tend to appear in tight clusters, while pimples can easily erupt one by one in different areas of the face.
- Sebaceous filaments are smooth or very slightly raised, whereas pimples tend to project more from the skin.
Causes of Sebaceous Filaments
In order to understand the causes of sebaceous filaments, we need to know exactly what they are. Sebaceous filaments are present on every person’s skin. They are responsible for bringing the sebum (oil) created by our sebaceous glands to the surface of the skin, as a natural moisturizer and waterproof barrier. However, they tend to be much less noticeable on people with less natural oil in their skin. Many such people may never have noticed they have sebaceous filaments at all! However, people with more active sebaceous glands and oily skin are not so fortunate. It is the excess oil which makes the pores appear larger, and the sebaceous filaments more visible. You may find that your sebaceous filaments are a gray, tan, or darker color (darker than the natural color of your skin), or maybe just yellow or a lighter hue. Note that whatever the color of your noticeable sebaceous filaments, it is probably darker than the color of the rest of your face.
Home Remedies for Sebaceous Filaments
While sebaceous filaments can never be completely eliminated, there are many different things you can do at home and in your everyday life that will make them less visible (very possibly even a great deal less visible), and your skin generally more refined in texture. Let’s discuss these techniques and approaches below:
Remember not to squeeze them!
While it can be tempting to simply squeeze the white sebum out of your sebaceous filaments, doing so will not benefit you. The sebaceous filament will return to its previous appearance (or worse) within a short period of time, and squeezing it may introduce bacteria that can easily lead to an eruption of acne. Popping sebaceous filaments can also cause scarring.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) will help improve the appearance of your sebaceous filaments through exfoliation and reduction of the amount of oil produced. To use baking soda, first wash your face gently with warm water. Then, mix small amounts of water into some baking soda, until you reach the consistency of a paste. Put the paste on the areas of your skin where your sebaceous filaments concern you. Make sure to leave the paste on your skin for at least three minutes, and then gently rinse it off with lukewarm water. You should do this baking soda treatment at least two times per week.
Benzyl peroxide will help to remove sebum buildup and exfoliate dead skin. To use benzoyl peroxide, first cleanse your face with warm water. Then, use a towel to very gently dry your skin. Once you have done that, put a tiny amount of benzoyl peroxide on the affected area. Leave the benzoyl peroxide on the skin to dry for a total of about three minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. You should do this each night before you go to bed. Make sure to keep your skin properly moisturized if you find the benzoyl peroxide to be overly drying.
Look for a facial cleansing product with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid will help to remove sebum buildup and exfoliate dead skin. Salicylic acid can be very drying, so make sure to keep your skin well-moisturized.
Use a facial toner
Use a facial toner made for your specific skin type after you cleanse each morning and night. Facial toner will help to remove excess oil and dead skin cells.
Many people find this remedy to be quite strange at first, but it really is quite helpful. If you apply a small amount of mineral oil to the affected area every day, your skin will be completely moisturized and this will make it less likely that your sebaceous glands will overproduce oil. Make sure to remember to properly cleanse and tone your skin every day (preferably twice per day).
Reduce your intake of fatty foods
As fatty foods tend to increase the skin’s sebum production, you should cut down the number of fatty foods included in your diet. With that said, however, it is vital to remember that you do need a certain amount of healthy fats (healthy lipids) in your diet and your skincare products. Helpful foods include fatty fish, nuts, dark leafy greens, and seeds. A proper intake of healthy fats will help to make sebum production more appropriate to the needs of your skin, thus avoiding overproduction.
You have probably noticed pore strips for sale in the skincare aisle of your local drugstore. Try using these strips on your sebaceous filaments. You might find doing so quite helpful. Note, however, that the sebum you pull out will reappear within a few days. It is much better to get into the habit of using substances and techniques that will refine the complexion. It might cause irritation to use pore strips too frequently, so they are best viewed as an occasionally expedient option.
Clay masks are usually very effective in improving the appearance of sebaceous filaments and refining the complexion. Such masks will remove sebum buildup and exfoliate dead skin. Good clay masks often contain multni mitti clay, bentonite clay, or French green clay. You should use a clay mask once per week.
Charcoal masks work in a similar way to clay masks. You will find that a charcoal mask will help exfoliate your skin and remove buildup of sebum. Depending on the oiliness of your skin, you can use a charcoal mask up to one time per week.
Over-the-counter skin treatments for excess oil and enlarged pores
You may find several different skin treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or resorcinol at your local drugstore.
Avoid using skincare and makeup products that contain comedogenic ingredients
Never simply trust the product labels. There are no laws or regulations stopping companies from falsely using the term non-comedogenic. It is important for you to actually read the ingredient list of each product. Below is a list of comedogenic ingredients that are often included in products, and that you should avoid. You might find it helpful to avoid these ingredients in your haircare products as well as your skincare and makeup products.
Ingredients to avoid:
- Coconut butter
- Coconut oil
- Myristyl myristate
- Isopropyl myristate
- Isopropyl isostereate
- Cocoa butter
- Cetearyl alcohol + ceteareth 20
- Lauric acid
- Stearyl heptaonoate
- Acetylated lanolin
- Myristyl lactate
- Isostearyl isostearate
- Isopropyl palmitate
- Acetylated lanolin alcohol
- Soybean oil
- Stearic acid: TEA
- Shark liver oil
- Wheat germ glyceride
- Glyceryl stearate SE
- Isostearyl neopentanoate
- Decyl oleate
- D&C red #30
- Buytl stearate
- Myristic acid
- Mink oil
Use skincare products that feature antioxidants
Check to ensure that the skincare products you are using contain antioxidants. The reason why sebaceous filaments become dark in color is because of oxidation of the sebum. Antioxidants fight the effects of oxidation and free radicals.
Make a herbal compress using dandelion root, burdock root, and castor oil. Once you have left the compress on for about half an hour, apply a serum or moisturizer (ensure it is entirely non-comedogenic) that will ensure your skin stays moisturized and overproduction of oil will not occur as a result of excessive dryness.
Use non-comedogenic oils
It can be helpful to use non-comedogenic oils on the affected area, as they will help to ensure consistent moisturization, thus helping to avoid oil overproduction. An example of a non-comedogenic oil is jojoba oil. Keeping the skin hydrated is important in preventing dead skin cells and other debris from accumulating.
There are enzyme peels made for at-home use available. Enzyme peels are much more gentle than other peels. An enzyme peel will help to exfoliate your skin, thus helping with the appearance of your sebaceous filaments.
It is important to keep your body hydrated through proper water intake. Keeping your body hydrated will help keep your pores and skin hydrated, and this will make the pores less constricted. When the pores are less constricted, they are less likely to retain impurities.
Ensure you don’t over-exfoliate or over-wash your skin
It is important to make sure that the cleanser you use is of good quality and does not contain overly harsh detergents and other ingredients. This is vital, as if you over-wash or over-exfoliate the skin you are encouraging the oil glands to overproduce.
While the above home remedies are generally extremely effective and enough on their own for many people, some individuals feel their problem is too severe for home treatment and opt for professional attention instead (or in addition to home treatment). Below are some of the professional options out there for you to explore:
It can be extremely helpful to get a professional deep pore cleansing facial on a regular basis. You will find that this treatment involves thorough yet gentle cleansing, as well as steaming, a special enzyme exfoliation treatment, massage, any needed extractions, a highly effective mask, and application of a deeply hydrating moisturizer.
If you consult with a doctor, you might find that laser and light therapy is an option for you. This type of therapy can remove your visible sebaceous filaments.
If you have found that over-the-counter medications have been insufficient in addressing your problem, your dermatologist might prescribe a prescription-strength medication that will help with promoting the exfoliation of old skin cells and growth of new ones.
While Accutane is better known for its effectiveness specifically in treating acne, its ability to limit the oil production of your sebaceous glands means that it can be effective in dealing with sebaceous filaments, too.
Professional extraction or removal
Your visible sebaceous filaments can be professionally extracted. You will probably find that your dermatologist will use a tool referred to as a “round loop” for this extraction.
A professional chemical peel would help to thoroughly exfoliate the skin and refine its texture. Depending on their strength, chemical peels can cause a great deal of redness and even pain. Make sure to closely consult with your doctor before going this route.
While having visible sebaceous filaments can be distressing and even embarrassing, it is clear that there are many different highly effective options for addressing the problem.
“The Difference Between Sebaceous Filaments and Blackheads,” http://stylecaster.com/beauty/the-difference-between-blackheads-and-sebaceous-filaments
“How to Get Rid of Sebaceous Filaments,” http://www.treatcurefast.com/nose/sebaceous-filaments/sebaceous-filaments-on-nose-how-get-rid-remove-treatment-squeeze
“Let’s Talk About Those Little Gray Dots on Your Nose: They’re Not Blackheads,” http://www.thegloss.com/beauty/nose-blackheads-little-dots-sebaceous-filaments-sebum
“The Love Vitamin’s Guide to Different Types of Acne,” http://thelovevitamin.com/2401/type-of-acne
“8 Ways to Keep Blackheads and Sebaceous Filaments in Check,” http://www.holisticallyhaute.com/2015/02/keep-blackheads-and-sebaceous-filaments-in-check.html
“Difference Between Blackheads and Sebaceous Filaments,” http://www.livestrong.com/article/546911-difference-between-blackheads-sebaceous-filaments
“Comedogenic (Pore-Clogging) Ingredients,” http://www.acne.org/comedogenic-list.html